Love Letter to my Cat
To my Juliet.
With a soft paw stroking my neck,
you whisper your arrival,
wide-eyed and attentive to my movements
as I slowly bat my eyes open.
You are a shape so familiar to me,
a fluffy silhouette I see out of the corner of my eye
even when I don’t see it out of the corner of my eye,
a small pointed face with those two triangular ears
that perch atop your head, antennae-like;
the tail that slaps softly side-to-side,
restless unless asleep.
My thoughts meander away, dreamlike distractions,
and as my eyes close with certainty,
you brush my cheek with your paw and
sniff my face closely with your twitching nose,
whiskers tickling my nostrils.
Wrinkling my nose and turning my face away,
I cringe and you take a brisk step backwards;
my hand flutters to pet you.
I’m awake—I’m awake—good morning,
the sun bleeding between my closed blinds
and the birds’ wings rustling beneath my window.
Our neighbor’s dog barks, and you jolt, pausing
and not until I’ve pet you three more times do your
alarmed eyes pull away from the window,
and three more pets later your muscles relax,
your attention rejoining us.
Then your eyelids swoon, sinking low,
eyeing me sweetly, charmingly,
arching your body into the crux of each pet,
purring reverberating, your paws dancing upon
the cushiony blanket, drawing close to me.
Your movements are so much like dancing,
like flowing yoga with cartoon-like grace;
you lower yourself, settling downwards into the
nest of softness beside me.
As I massage your temple, your eyes
contentedly close, and you scooch closer
and closer to me, your vibrating warmth
so tender and loving.
This is the essence of our relationship,
the penultimate bond.
I could speculate a thousand conceptions
which may or may not cross your consciousness,
but in moments like these,
when our existences are nestled lovingly—
and especially when you cower with apprehension
at everyone’s presence except mine—
the understanding of our relationship is mutual,
the trust and companionship both cherished.
I don’t have to wonder if you love me,
or if you know I love you,
because when you curl up to me,
the bass of your purr thumping loudly,
the feelings of love are reciprocated inherently;
when you sputter blissfully, eyes closed and pleased,
I feel the word that you don’t know by name
but by feeling: love, and it’s exceptional,
the remarkable relationship between cat and human.
Love Letter to my Body
To my body
Every breath is a wave,
each blink is a sunrise;
your existence is miracle,
and your presence divine.
When in the morning you wake,
I thank you for rising;
you have brought me to see
yet another day in this life.
sweet majestic angel of nature,
you are sacred and strong,
wondrous and heavenly.
Roses look beautiful,
Lilacs smell sweet,
without you I’d know nothing
of such joyous earthly pleasures.
Love Letter to my Eighth Grade Notebook
Dear Eighth Grade Notebook,
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart
for your dutiful service, Madam Notebook.
If my middle school emotional turmoil was a war,
then you were the soldier in the trenches,
doing the dirty work,
going to toe-to-toe for the cause,
shouldering the bullets of
my angsty scribbled penciling
and charging into every battle
with blank pages
of college ruled lines.
The way you persevered,
headstrong through fallen friendships,
unfazed by whiny ramblings,
non-judgmental of lame song lyrics,
enduring of epic unrequited crushes—
I’ll never know how you could be so
loyal and brave.
You have not emerged unscathed:
I’ve kept your green cover
as a formality, all these years,
even though it long ago
detached itself from the spiral binding,
the surface scratched and
faded white in patches;
my feelings and anxieties
tattooed upon your body
in ugly arrangements,
excerpts from my blog
printed out and
shoved into the folder pockets
in each of the three dividers.
Your hideous physicality
is a testament to your sacrifice,
the pages you’ve laid down
in the line of fire,
unthreatened by even
most aggressive drama.
I cannot thank you enough,
because without you,
I may have said
some of those things
and that would have been
So now you can rest, at last,
in quiet retirement,
alongside my other veteran notebooks
who’ve served as you have,
though none having experienced
the caliber of devastation
that you faced.
You are my first love,
my first hero,
and I cherish you today
with your curled edges,
grown soft with wear,
having seen me at my ugliest
and still welcoming me
with open pages.
Happy Valentine’s Day, readers!
For more poetry from Slanted Spines, view the Poems page!